As the trial begins for an Iowa man who is accused of killing a gender-fluid teen after inviting them over for a threesome, prosecutors are prepared to focus on LGBT hate as a motive.
Kedarie Johnson, also known as “Kandicee,” identified as both male and female. The 16-year-old student from Burlington, Iowa, was killed in March 2016 after meeting 23-year-old Jorge Sanders-Galvez.
According to the Independent, Sanders-Galvez saw Johnson exit and a store and persuaded them to get in his car. Johnson was then brought to Sanders-Galvez’s home to have sex with him and his cousin, 25-year-old Jaron Purham.
When Sanders-Galvez discovered Johnson was biologically male, he became furious and violently suffocated the teen before shooting him.
Purham and Jorge Sanders-Galvez were both charged with first-degree murder in Johnson’s death, according to The Des Moines Register.
In Jan. 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions deployed a federal hate crimes attorney to Iowa to assist in the prosecution of Sanders-Galvez.
Christopher Perras, an attorney for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, detailed the terrible murder.
Sanders-Galvez “suffocated Kedarie by stuffing a rag down his throat and wrapping a plastic bag around his head, threw him in their car, drove to another part of town, dumped him in an alley and shot him several times until he bled to death,” Perras wrote in a court document.
An autopsy found Johnson died from gunshots to the chest.
A federal grand jury has been convened to consider whether the men should face hate crime charges, but no decision has been announced.
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